The Greater Washington Society of Association Executives received a $250,000 gift from First Union National Bank last week for its Center for Association Leadership.
The gift, the second largest the center has received, brings the GWSAE campaign a stride closer to its goal of $2.5 million. The campaign to build a center for education and communication among association professionals in an as-yet-undecided location has raised $2.1 million.
"First Union [and banks it has incorporated] have served the association community for over 20 years," said David Ryder, senior vice president of the association client group for First Union. "So we saw this particular project as a unique project at a unique time in our industry."
Mr. Ryder announced the gift at a dinner for certified association executives on Wednesday. Mr. Ryder, who works out of the Charlotte, N.C., bank's Washington-area office, said First Union has been providing financial services to GWSAE for several years.
Mr. Ryder said the goals his group is trying to achieve with clients are similar to those the center will be working on with its constituents.
"We spend a lot of time with clients, helping them be better association professionals," he said.
First Union's gift follows in size that of Marriott International Inc. and the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. Those organizations gave a leading gift of $1 million to the campaign when the center's creation was formally announced in January.
Susan Sarfati, GWSAE's president and chief executive officer, said large gifts help encourage others to donate.
"People who are making these kind of decisions are looking at who else has stepped up to the plate," she said.
Ms. Sarfati said GWSAE hopes to raise the majority of funds toward the campaign goal by the end of this year.
IFA BOOSTS MEMBERSHIP
The International Franchise Association passed the 800-member mark in franchisor members as part of an ongoing new member program.
The membership initiative started three years ago, and has garnered the association 40 percent more members than four years ago.
"A lot of smaller companies - and franchising is predominantly smaller companies - were reluctant to seriously consider membership in IFA" because of its high membership dues, said Don DeBolt, president of the District-based association. …